Over the past year, many of our clients have reached out and asked us, “Is email marketing really worth it?”. This is a great question and an understandable one. Afterall, each of us are inundated with superfluous digital information every single day. Who could possibly want more email?
The thing is, if it’s a message that is uniquely catered to our specific interests and set of circumstances then, yes, we do want to receive those messages! In fact, if you’re sending value, specificity and thoughtful messages to your base your business is bound to grow like never before!
Email marketing can seem daunting at first, but we’re here to tell you that there’s really nothing to it. We’ve mapped out and answered 10 email marketing frequently asked questions to help you get started!
1. Bigger is better, right?
When it comes to email marketing, success is not determined by the size of your list. It’s much more important to use best opt-in practices to ensure that your subscribers are truly engaged and interested in what you have to say. You want to grow with the right people–which doesn’t always mean casting the widest net possible. For instance, you may only have a list of 25-50 people to begin with–and that’s great! If they are opening your messages and engaging with the content then this list holds more value than 1,000 subscribers who aren’t bothering to open your emails.
If you’re just getting started, then begin by compiling a list of your current customers, family, friends and former colleagues. Send an initial email, outlining the kind of content you plan to send, giving them an opportunity to unsubscribe from the list (you don’t want to make anyone angry for adding them without permission). From there, you can reach out to neighbors, contacts from organizations or additional acquaintances.
2. How can I make sure my emails will look great when delivered?
Like most things in the digital space, there are a good deal of variables to consider when it comes to the visual predictability of your emails. For instance, every email client renders html differently as do the different browsers.
As a result, frequent testing on different devices, platforms and email environments is the best way to ensure that your messages are rendering properly. Your email marketing platform (such as Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign) can help with this as well and can take a bit of the testing headaches out of the mix for you.
If you want to make your emails more visually compelling, you can use catchy images, call to action graphics, buttons and even animated gifs to attract attention and lead visitors’ eyes throughout the piece.
3. What’s the best time and day to send emails?
This is one of the most debated and frequently asked questions when it comes to email marketing. People have different takes on this. Mailchimp says Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2-5pm is the best while Wordstream thinks Thursday from 8-9am is the best.
There are many correct answers to these questions as it is different for every person, industry and email list. Experiment with different times and days to find out what works best for you.
4. How often should I be sending emails?
Similar to the best day and time question, the right email frequency depends a good deal on your audience and industry. Perhaps you create a variety of content that people look forward to receiving each and every week. Or maybe once a week is pushing it and your audience only needs the basics, once a month tops.
Your answer will most certainly be in the data. Try a few approaches and look at the analytics of each campaign. Change up the imagery, format, length and subject lines too in order to get the best result.
5. How do I figure out what to write about?
This is the fun part, we promise! You may initially believe that you haven’t a single thing to contribute, but I assure you–this just isn’t true!
First tackle the low-hanging fruit; what kinds of things are your clients and customers always asking you? Make a list and jot down as many ideas as you can. Now ask yourself, “What are some of the problems we solve for our customers? How do people benefit from engaging with our services?”
For more ideas on content generation, be sure to check out:
- Serious About Your Blog? Then You Seriously Need to Blog
- Mix It Up: Different Content Types to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing
And remember: your content needs to put your customers first, not you or your company 😉
6. What are some of the latest trends in email marketing?
Videos and moving imagery have a higher conversion so many marketers are using video in their email strategy. One approach is to embed webinars or short clips into email campaigns. Another is to incorporate gifs; a popular and humorous way to grab a customer’s attention.
Another highly effective email technique is the personalization of emails. A simple example of this approach is including the email recipient’s first name in the subject line or intro message. To take this a step further, some email clients have the ability to deliver specific content based on the individuals location, behavior or personal preferences.
7. How can I get more customers to open my emails?
This may sound obvious but, you really should be sending relevant content that your audience actually wants to receive. This means that you’ve been listening and engaging with your customers and creating helpful content consistently–this builds trust.
Once you have a message that you know will resonate with your base, getting them to open that email is all in the art of crafting the perfect subject line. It needs to grab the viewer’s attention and entice them to learn more. Try adding a little urgency to the message (never make false promises, however) or adding humor to a short and punchy subject line. Personalization and sprinkling some emojis may also get you some additional opens. You can also ask a question, offer immediate value or focus on benefits. Set expectations and be clear about your email content.
8. What do open rates and clickthrough rates mean?
An open rate is the percentage of customers who opened your email compared to the total number of people who received it. The clickthrough rate is merely the percentage of customers who clicked on a link found within your email compared to the total number of people who opened it. These are the most common metrics used to measure email marketing success. But these are not the only metrics you should be focusing on.
9. What are some other metrics worth paying attention to?
Here are four other metrics worth paying attention to:
- Inbox rates: the number of delivered emails that actually made it into your customer’s inbox rather than their junk/spam folder
- Bounce rates: the percentage of emails that have been rejected by mail servers
- Spam reports: the amount of times your emails were marked as spam by recipients
- Unsubscribes: the number of people who unsubscribed from your email campaign
10. Can I prevent people from unsubscribing from my email campaigns?
There are some companies who try to get tricky; they hide the unsubscribe link or go to great lengths to be sure that it’s hard to find.
Don’t do that. It’s annoying.
As a matter of fact, if someone unsubscribes to your email–good! That means they aren’t the right fit for the messages that you’re sending. You don’t want garbage emails on your list–you want people who are truly interested and engaged with your content.
You also want to be sure that you’re being a good internet citizen and complying with the CAN-SPAM Act. Because you could get fined for not following the rules 😉
Email marketing is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to stay in front of your customers and stay top of mind. If you’re unfamiliar with sending email campaigns, there’s no better time to start than the present. And of course, if you need a little help getting started, please give us a shout!